1 Mar 2022

New Zealand signs free trade deal with UK to eliminate all tariffs for NZ exports

9:54 am on 1 March 2022

New Zealand has overnight signed a historic free-trade agreement with the United Kingdom, sealing a deal agreed in principle last year.

A man and a woman hold folders and shake hands.

Damien O’Conner and Secretary of State Anne-Marie Trevelyan from the NZ-UK FTA signing ceremony Photo: Supplied/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The deal will see the UK eliminate all tariffs on New Zealand exports, with duties removed on 99.5 percent of current trade from entry into force.

It's expected to boost New Zealand's GDP by between $700 million and $1 billion and save local exporters roughly $37m each year on tariffs.

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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the deal will unlock unprecedented access to the UK market and accelerate the country's recovery from the pandemic.

"This is a gold-standard free trade agreement. Virtually all our current trade will be duty free from entry into force, including duty-free quotas for key products like meat, butter and cheese, helping to accelerate our economic recovery."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her British counterpart Boris Johnson speak via teleconferencing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her British counterpart Boris Johnson speak via teleconferencing. Photo: Supplied

Ardern said the deal was also New Zealand's first free-trade agreement with specific climate change and indigenous provisions.

"This is our first bilateral trade agreement to include a specific article on climate change and includes provisions towards eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies, such as harmful fossil fuel subsidies, and prohibiting fisheries subsidies which lead to overfishing.

"It also includes a ground-breaking Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter that will create a platform for cooperation on issues important to Māori," Ardern said.

The free trade agreement was signed in London by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor and the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

O'Connor told Morning Report Māori business would have huge advantage and opportunities in exporting goods with the Māori Trade and Economic Cooperation chapter, which agreed to work on progess in the future.

O'Connor said both partners were now working to have the FTA come into force by the end of 2022; after it had been ratified through both countries' parliaments.

The trade minister said the deal will cut costs for exporters and create opportunities for New Zealand businesses to grow and diversify their trade when it comes into force.

It's estimated New Zealand goods exports to the UK will increase by over 50 percent through the free-trade agreement, he said.

"Our largest export to the UK is wine - approximately $500 million. Overnight $14 million of wine tariffs will evaporate. New Zealand's honey exporters will no longer face a $16 duty for every $100 worth of honey they send to the UK.

"Our dairy and red meat sectors will, for the first time since the 1970s, have tariff-free access that will grow through significant quotas until being fully liberalised. This is a commercially meaningful and excellent deal."

O'Connor said the deal also had more than 290 environmentally beneficial products prioritised for tariff elimination; the largest environment goods list ever agreed to in a free-trade agreement.

"This agreement reflects the government's Trade For All agenda, ensuring this FTA works harder both for our economy and our society. It includes commitments on SMEs, trade and gender, trade and development, and consumer protection," he said.

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